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Pilot in Kingston, Ont., crash bought plane this year, says flight school

The Houston resident who piloted a plane that crashed in Kingston, Ont., on Wednesday night, killing all seven aboard, had recently purchased the aircraft in Texas, in part to take his family on trips.

Cause of crash that killed 'friendly' and 'well-liked' Texas pilot and family Wednesday not yet known

Anson Aviation, a flight training school in Sugar Land, Texas, posted this photo of Otabek Oblokulov to Facebook in March, congratulating him on the purchase of his first plane, a Cherokee Six. (Facebook/Anson Air)

The Houston resident who piloted a plane that crashed in Kingston, Ont., Wednesday night, killing all seven aboard, had recently purchased the aircraft in Texas, in part to take his family on trips.

Otabek Oblokulov purchased his green, white and gold 1965 Piper PA-32 in January, Anson Aviation, a flight school and plane rental company based in Sugar Land, Texas, wrote on its YouTube page.

Transportation Safety Board officials do not yet know the cause of the crash, which killed Oblokulov, his wife, three children and two friends from the Toronto area who were newlyweds.

Officials will comb through the wreckage, in a wooded area near Creekford Road and Bayridge Drive, over the next few days. TSB staff will also analyze weather reports, plane maintenance logs and the pilot's training record, among other pieces of evidence, looking for clues. 

In a YouTube video the school posted in May, Oblokulov credits Anson Aviation with helping him purchase his Piper PA-32, better known as a Cherokee Six.

CBC reached out to Anson Aviation on Thursday, but has not received a response.

President Dana Atkinson told The Canadian Press the company helped Oblokulov buy his plane so he could travel with his family.

"He was very friendly, very outgoing and well-liked," he said "We're all sad any time something like this happens."

TSB investigators comb the crash scene in a wooded area in Kingston, Ont., on Thursday. (TSBCanada/Twitter)

Oblokulov glows in the video as he describes one of the first excursions with his new plane — a family camping trip to the Grand Canyon.

"It was beautiful," he says in the video. "It handled perfectly ... we were happy."

He pats the front of the single-propeller plane with his palm, and says with a grin that he managed to fit all the gear in the nose compartment.

"I decided I need help buying this airplane, and I need somebody who I can trust and it's especially important because I want to take my family up," Oblokulov is heard saying in the video. 

WATCH | Anson Aviation profile of Otabek Oblokulov

In a YouTube video posted in May 2019, pilot Otabek Oblukulov reflects on the experience of flying his small plane during a family trip to the Grand Canyon. Oblukulov and six others died when their plane crashed near Kingston, Ont. on Nov. 27. 0:48

Oblokulov's friends, Zek Balikci and Mehmet Basti, were expecting Oblokulov for a stopover in Kingston on Wednesday.

"We were waiting for the call when they landed," said Basti.

The call never came, and Basti figured they lost the cell signal. He learned about the crash, which happened shortly after 5 p.m. ET, online in the morning.

"We are in shock. We are just trying to understand the situation," he said Thursday.

Bobomurod Nabiev, identified as this man in a 2013 Facebook post, died along with his wife in the small-plane crash in Kingston earlier this week. (Facebook/Bobomurod Nabiev)

According to a Facebook post by Wally Mulhearn, a Texas-based pilot examiner, Oblokulov received his private pilot certificate in May 2018. CBC reached out to Mulhearn but has yet to receive a response.

Basti said Oblokulov had "pretty good experience" flying airplanes and the trip was Oblokulov's first time flying in Canada.

Oblokulov and his family, who lived in Houston, along with Toronto-area residents Bobomurod Nabiev and his new wife were flying to Quebec City for the American Thanksgiving.

CBC does not yet know the names of the women and children on board.

Ontario's chief coroner's office said Friday it will soon perform autopsies on the victims and it likely won't release their names for several days.

Another victim worked at circuit company

Oblokulov's extended family are in Uzbekistan and the newlyweds were also citizens of the Central Asian nation.

The country's ambassador to the United States and Canada has offered his condolences.

Nabiev worked at ITL Circuits in Markham, Ont., which manufactures circuit boards.

Paul Czudnochowsky, a director at the company, said in an interview Friday that Nabiev had been there four years and didn't mention any trip like this.

He said he grew concerned when Nabiev didn't show up for work.

About the Author

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Ottawa and Winnipeg. Previously, she worked as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at laura.glowacki@cbc.ca.

With files from CBC's Philip Ling and Judy Trinh, and The Canadian Press